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Solving two major jobs issues facing Australia with the new Y Career Agency

April 19, 2021 Youth Employment

The YMCA (the Y) has developed a practical plan to tackle two of Australia’s major issues – youth unemployment and the urgent need for a strong, skilled and diverse care workforce.

Through the Y’s new initiative – the Y Career Agency we will support thousands of young Australians gain skills that will enable them to find meaningful work across the care sector.

The Y Career Agency has been co-designed with employers and young people to provide job matching services, career coaching support, on the job learning in leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and encouragement to build up a ‘career portfolio’ of transferable skills.

The Y will invest over $500m in wages over the next five years and is asking the Federal Government to provide $15.1m in this year’s budget for seed funding to help get the initiative up and running.

There are 42 hot spots in Australia with high youth unemployment and a high need for care workers.

In an Australian first, we have mapped the regions with high identified care needs and high levels of youth unemployment. This has identified 42 hot spots which must be targeted as a matter of priority. The Y has established infrastructure and a track record of success on the ground in the overwhelming majority of these hot spots. See the Hot Spots Report here.

Research by the Y and partner organisation Social Ventures Australia has led to the development of a new model that, with the securing of seed funding, will be established and tested at trial sites across Australia in 2021, and then rolled out to include other Y employer partners.  The trial sites will be located in areas where high youth unemployment coincides with high demand for carers in the child care, aged care and disability fields.  

The Y is already one of Australia’s largest employers of young people, with over 7,000 across the year employed at more than 580 sites across the country providing jobs in the care, health and wellbeing sectors, including disability services. 

With more than 175 years of experience in working with and employing young people, the Y is uniquely placed to help transition young people back into work after the disruption of COVID and ensure that they are provided with the support necessary to tackle the modern jobs market.

The Y’s National CEO Melinda Crole says “We know that the nature of work has already changed significantly and entry level roles are far more difficult to come by than ever before. Young people are being forced to take jobs with little or no security, few if any workplace protections, and limited career prospects. The Y wants to provide real and meaningful jobs along with on the job training and support for young people in Australia”.

Ms Crole said “We are seeking to work with Government and Businesses and other national youth organisations to rebuild the confidence and aspirations of young people who have been through a lot of disruption and knockbacks over the last 12 months.  We believe that the Y Career Agency can reintroduce hope and meaningful work in communities across Australia”.

About the Y

The Y is a community not-for-profit and the oldest youth organisation in the world (177 years’ old). Services include: children’s services (early learning, kindergarten and OSHC), recreation (swimming, gyms, gymnastics), camping, youth programs and disability services.

The Y’s services experience more than 29.5 million annual participations, including 9.84 million children participations and 1.2 million youth participations annually. 

Impacts of COVID-19 on young people’s employment

  • The latest Labour Market Update (March 2021) confirms that young people continue to be disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, given their higher representation in industries with casual employment including in retail, accommodation and food services.
  • While representing only 15% of the population, young people accounted for 62% of the total fall in employment between March and November 2020 (LMU 2021).

For interviews with the National CEO of the Y Melinda Crole and young spokespeople for the Y please contact:
Dianne McDonald M: 0412 858 556 e:

A selection of vision representing the YMCA’s history and current youth service areas is available to download via: 

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